In my view history is going to condemn the Obama Administration as one of the most destructive in the country’s history for three reasons: Its disregard for personal privacy, with the resultant surveillance state we now have; its absolute attempt to stop whistle blowers from revealing the corruption and incompetence that is so rife in our government; and its complete unwillingness to hold villains accountable if they are big and rich. ! The combination of these three things is destroying people’s faith in the American system, as poll after poll makes clear.
Whistleblowing Now Akin to Treason
MARCY WHEELER – Salon
When Thomas Drake, then an official at the National Security Agency, realized that the agency’s decision to shut down an internal data analysis program and instead outsource the project to a private contractor provided the government with less effective analysis at much higher cost, he tried to do something about it. Drake’s decision to join three other whistleblowers in asking the agency’s inspector general to investigate ultimately made him the target of a leak investigation that tore his life apart.
In 2005, the inspector general of the Department of Defense, of which NSA is a part, confirmed the whistleblowers’ accusations of waste, fraud and security risk.
Earlier this year, former NSA Director Michael Hayden even conceded that TrailBlazer, the program for which the NSA paid over $1 billion to the Science Applications International Corporation, had failed. The agency, after killing its own program (called ThinThread) ‘outsourced how we gathered other people’s communications,” he said in response to a question from investigative journalist Tim Shorrock. ‘And that was a bridge too far for industry. We tried a moonshot, and it failed.”
Nevertheless, Drake’s efforts to expose that waste and abuse would ultimately lead to his being charged under the 1917 Espionage Act – a law intended for the prosecution of spies, not whistleblowers.
Drake, a subject of a new documentary, War on Whistleblowers: Free Press and the National Security State, could have been put away for the rest of his life. ‘Speaking truth to power is now a criminal act,” Drake told filmmaker Robert Greenwald.